Posted in Service Industry

Accepting Change


Can we agree that most people have trouble accepting change?  I know I do . . . but then, my issue has more to do with how it is given.

I think we can all agree that no one knows how to count back change anymore.  It’s a lost art for which none of us are willing to fight any longer.  The electronic gadgets tell us how much to give or expect back, and we like it that way.  Furthermore, coins are seen as mere fractions of money, not worth the metal into which they are pressed.  Most of us check the dollars, and toss the coins in a tip jar, penny dish, or the bottom of a bag.

My message today is about the physical handing over of the change.  There are two acceptable ways to hand back the balance of one’s payment.  The coins can be given with one hand and paper bills with the other.  However, this requires both cashier and customer to have both hands empty to begin with.  Most often, our hands are occupied with purchases, purses and receipts.  The drive-thru window makes this most difficult with both individuals reaching through what amounts to a hole in their space.

Usually change is received through a one-handed ordeal for both giver and receiver.  To be correctly accomplished, the coins should be dropped into the receiver’s palm, with the bills set either on top, or in the fingers.


Never . . . this bears repeating . . . NEVER should the bills be set in the hand with the coins sliding around on top!  This is a recipe for disaster.  The customer must quickly close the hand, hoping to capture the unpredictable coins, or risk them rolling across the counter, bouncing on the floor, or worse — losing them forever under the car at the drive-thru window. Customers waiting behind will be tapping their foot and rolling their eyes at the blundering transaction.  “I’m sorry” and “my fault” rarely help the situation, and I guarantee this dance is repeated daily at all hours of all establishments.

I plead my case with the fervor of one who has watched the counting back of change go the way of the dinosaurs.  The popularity of debit cards is making the passing of such skills swift.  Indeed, I rarely use real cash myself.  Dare I be one of those pompous elitists who takes it upon myself to instruct every cashier I meet on the correct procedure of giving change?  Um . . . no thanks.

Lest you think you are off the hook because you don’t work in retail, please note:  The counter has two sides.  I actually have worked in retail, and for every person who tossed his coins on the counter (were they afraid to touch me?) there was one who dropped skittering coins on top of the bills and left me to play goalie with their payment.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the loss of these coins is leading to the lag in our economy.  How many millions of dollars . . . nay, trillions! . . . could be lost in the gutters near countless hot dog stands, emptied from cashier waste baskets into the landfills, or swept away by cleaning crews?   May I go as far as to say it is your patriotic duty, when acting in the role of a customer and/or a cashier, to hand off currency in a responsible manner?


*Bonus points:  Just break out and be one of the pompous elite.  As the coins are undoubtedly about to be dropped on top of your paper currency, say, “Uh-uh-uh!  Let me show you the correct method for handing off change . . . ”

A+ for anyone who does that.

Peace . . .

Posted in Awards

Who . . . Me?

I’m not exactly accustomed to receiving awards . . .
There were a couple bowling trophies from my adolescent years:
Before the internet we had to bowl for entertainment.
And the Pinewood Derby Adult Division 2000 from the Boy Scouts:
Laugh if you must, I’m very proud of this one.
The Girl Scout Leader awards:
I miss the cookies . . .
Now, and with no warning, I have been nominated for the Liebster Award:
I am overwhelmed!  However, as we all know, of those to whom much has been given, much is required.  There are questions to answer, questions to ask, a thank you to write, and nominations to . . . um . . . nominate!  And so with no further ado, I’d like to formally thank Lois from livingsimplyfree for presenting me with this nomination.
Lois asks that I answer eleven questions she has posed to her nominees:
  • Why do you blog?

I blog because I enjoy putting my random thoughts into words and editing them until I like the way they sound when read.

  • If you had more free time, how would you like to fill it?

First of all, I would take a nap, which would give me more energy to do all the things I say I’m too tired to do.  I would read, hike, hang with my kids, cook, fix stuff, play with the dogs, organize my photos, write . . .

  • With the holidays fast approaching, what is your favorite/least favorite holiday and why?

What is not to love about Thanksgiving?  Food, family, and no gift expectations to meet.

  • What is one place you would like to visit?

Hard to say . . . you won’t find it in a travel brochure.  I like off-seasons, nearby sites and the unexpected — maybe even around the next corner!  I won’t know where I want to visit until I’ve been there and seen it.

  • If you could meet anyone, in any time period who would it be?

I would like to meet Galileo and show him our science textbooks.

  • I love a good laugh, it makes even the worst days better.  So what caught you off-guard and made you laugh recently?

At work the other day I accidentally called my cell phone while trying call a co-worker.  I thought, “Who the heck is calling me, now?”  The number looked familiar.  Indeed, it looked like a number from my workplace.  In fact . . . it looked like MY number!  Then just as I looked at my desk phone, I heard in my headset my own cheerful voice, “Hello!  You’ve reached the cell phone of Jean . . . ”  Laughed so damned hard, I snorted!

  • If you had to choose, would you choose more money or more time?

As shallow as this sounds, I would take more money.  I barely have enough money for the time I’ve already been given, so more time would just be more expensive, and lead to more anxiety.  Wishing for more time is romantic, but I’m an incurable realist.  There is no such thing as more time, but more money?  Hand it over!

  • What is your biggest pet peeve?

I can’t stand know-it-alls — this includes the person who knows how I should eat, how everyone should vote, who knows what kind of person you are by the way you look, who knows how to raise your children . . . you know this person, and you can’t stand them either.  Admit it.

  • What is your favorite low cost/no cost activity or hobby?

Being a very visual person, I love photography.  It’s not a serious hobby.  I have a digital camera and don’t do anything terribly creative with it.  Photography slows me down and encourages me to look for things of beauty or interest that I would otherwise walk by.

  • Are you a morning person or a night owl?

My best day begins early after a good night’s sleep, quietly watching the sun illuminate the landscape.

  • Since those of us in the northern hemisphere are moving towards winter, what is your favorite spot inside your home to spend time in?

If actions speak louder than words, it would be my living room where I read, write, watch movies and steal the occasional nap.  BUT if I can get myself in bed early enough, I do take pleasure in the 15 to 30 minutes before I drift off, when the dogs are settled in, I am washed and brushed, the lights are low, with a good book in hand.

Pass it on:

This award also requires that I nominate bloggers who have 200 or less followers.  Of those blogs I follow, only a few actually show the number of followers they have.  I’m not sure who makes these rules, but I’ve seen some Liebsters say they have to list 5, others say 3 to 5, some 11.  I will list my favorites of those who I think have 200 or less followers.  Let’s see how long the list gets:

  1. Richly Bizarre (who has random thoughts like me)
  2. Boomdeeadda (writes about love and life and two black rescue animals — cats, but I won’t hold that against her)
  3. The Rabbit Rabble (did I mention I have opened my home to a rabbit? — that will be a future blog)
  4. Jiggly Bitch (it was the whipped cream/dirty dancing post that made me follow her)

Okay well only four.  And to be fair, I didn’t see how many followers The Rabbit Rabble had, but I took a stab that it is less than 200.  Hopefully being wrong will not cost me the award.

The bloggers above must now answer the eleven questions of my choosing, listed below:

  • How old would you think you are if you didn’t know your age?
  • When you have 30 minutes to kill, what do you do?
  • If you knew it would be personally read and replied to, which celebrity would you choose to write?
  • What is one of your favorite quotes?
  • How do you prepare your favorite vegetable?
  • What do you need that other people might not?
  • Would you rather hunt for paranormal activity with Jason and Grant on Ghost Hunters, fish for River Monsters with Jeremy Wade, or have dinner with Les Stroud on Survivorman?
  • What rule do you like breaking?
  • What was the last song that got stuck in your head?
  • If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
  • What do you spy with your little eye?

For those of you who were not nominated, but are still reading, I would love to read your answers to any of the above!

Posted in Service Industry

Hands Off My Swiper!


After a recent visit to a local retail store, I launched into a common rant of mine.  I really tried to stifle it, but at last said to my captive automobile audience, “You know I’m trying not to say anything about that transaction, right?”  Which, I realize, negates any claim to stifling it.  He did, and dutifully sat back to listen to me spout off.

First, a disclaimer:  I understand the many reasons why you, my cashier, commit these crimes to my sense of good customer service.  You:

  • think I’m stupid
  • are busy
  • are very familiar with the workings of your area
  • are impatient
  • are on auto-pilot
  • have a long line
  • know I am in a hurry
  • think I don’t understand how a card swiper works because when I was born electricity hadn’t yet been invented

If I have missed any of your flawed motivations, feel free to enlighten me.  I do understand you think you are providing exemplary customer service.  I applaud your misdirected efforts.  I strive only to shed some light on your faulty reasoning.

Now here’s the problem:

  1. See that little credit card-swiper machine?  It is facing ME for a reason.  It is a tool for ME, the customer.
  2. Do not direct me to choose credit.  If I choose debit, feel free to warn me that it might not work, but please do not tell me definitively that it isn’t going to work.  You have been wrong before.  My card works about 99% of the time as a debit card.  For the cards that work 5% of the time, those customers STILL have the right to press debit.  Why?  See point #1.
  3. Do not tell me to hit “yes” when it asks if I accept the total.  I already know you agree with the total.  Computers have been wrong before, items have been incorrectly priced, and customers have been surprised by the total.   It is asking ME if I think the total is correct.  How do I know?  See point #1.
  4. Don’t watch me type in my PIN number.  That makes me feel terribly uncomfortable.  I actually had one cashier say, “Is your PIN really XXXX?”  I interrupted him with a big “SSHHHhhhhssss!”  Yes, and thank you for broadcasting that.  Apparently it was a meaningful number to him.  If you were supposed to know my number, the machine would face you, and I would have to recite the number out loud, but . . . see point #1.
  5. Under no circumstances should you EVER push a button on the swiper machine for me.  That is akin to reaching over the ATM and pushing buttons while I am logged in.  Once I have swiped my card, that machine is linked to my account. Pushing a button on there ought to be ILLEGAL!  If you have any doubts about this reasoning, please refer to my point #1.
  6. Do not read the questions to me unless I tell you I am illiterate or cannot see them.  I know you know them by heart.  This does not impress me.  If you want to impress me, look me in the eye, tell me thank you, pick up the bag and place it in my hand before looking at the next customer.  But that is another post . . .